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Last night was Christmas, all over again. We got tickets from our son for a concert at ArtsRiot in Burlington. It was a lovely evening. We had dinner with some of our favorite young adults, walked over to the concert venue on Pine Street and settled in for a nice musical evening. We were not disappointed. The entire concert was an acoustic event. The opening act was a Burlington singer/songwriter named Henry Jamison. He was wonderful. If you have not heard of him or his music, take a listen here. If you have the opportunity to see him near you, I would recommend it highly.
The main act was a Maine singer/songwriter called Lady Lamb. Another acoustic performance. While we were not all that familiar with her music beforehand, by the size of the crowd and the sold out show, Burlington was definitely familiar with her. A great performance. It was a very nice night of lots of great music, evidence that a gift of experiences trumps a gift of things.
It was also evidence of the small world we live in. Another couple asked to share our large half moon booth, to which we gladly agreed. Turns out, she was a Mill River graduate who was very familiar with our little corner of Vermont. The four of us had a great conversation waiting on the concert to start. It was a lovely evening on many fronts.
Here is a link to Tim’s solo. It was truly wonderful. I hope that wherever life leads him in the next years, that music remains a big part of his life.
Every once in a while, you get a whole lot of good all at one time. This weekend was one of those times. We were very fortunate to share a very special weekend with our families and our very dear friends. It really doesn’t get any better than that. Every year the high school’s music department puts forth a Bistro evening where the honors ensembles perform during a three course dinner and then perform an evening concert. It is a wonderful night, filled with lots of good food and great music. This was Tim’s last year to perform in Bistro and I was privileged to share it with those folks that I hold close to my heart. Then, we all were able to celebrate Easter together on Sunday. I know I have said it before, but I am very lucky to have such wonderful people in my life and I am so very, very proud of my son, Tim and his wonderful performance.
Here are some pictures from the weekend and the show.
My handsome nephews
My handsome boys
My in-laws and my mom with the grandsons
Our family picture
This week, our youngest son is out in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is performing in the National High School Honors Choir. To say that I am proud of Tim and his accomplishment is an understatement. Right now, I am wishing that I were there to hear the concert and marvel at the achievement. That was just not in the cards. He has had, best as I can tell from messages and quick phone calls, an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I absolutely CANNOT wait until he comes home so I can hear all about it in person.
He was selected from approximately 4,000 high school choral students to be a part of the 300 person national high school honors choir for the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA). The group is performing this afternoon as a group and then will perform this evening in a mass choir with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He is one of three students from his high school and one of the five from the state of Vermont chosen following the auditioning process. It is quite an honor. We are very proud of him.
We at our high school are blessed to have an amazing, dedicated choral teacher who goes above and beyond with our children. She sees their potential and helps them achieve things that they would never have even attempted without her guidance. We are grateful for all her time and effort, particularly since this week, she spent her birthday away from her own children to be with ours.
Here is the article that appeared in the local newspaper about the students and their experience.
From the Herald – NORTH CLARENDON — When the lights go up, the silence of anticipation will be broken by the thundering sound of 300 voices filling the air with song.
And three of those 300 voices will belong to Mill River Union High School seniors.
The students — Tim Heffernan, Katherine Bullock and Christian Brand — make up a tiny fraction of the nearly 4,000 students who auditioned for the 2015 National American Choral Directors’ Association Honor Choirs in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This weekend, the trio will spend several days rehearsing with the most talented vocal artists in the nation, and finish off the weekend with three performances. Roughly 6,000 people will be in attendance at those performances.
“It’s amazing and completely overwhelming to think of that many people listening to us sing,” said Brand.
Kristin Cimonetti, vocal teacher at the school, said this event is the highest honor of its kind that a high school student can achieve.
“It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “It’s very competitive and there is no other choral event of this caliber in the country.”
Each student who auditioned had to use the same piece of music and record it electronically.
Each recording was then put under the audio microscope by a panel of judges who made decisions of elimination, whittling the 4,000 audition recordings down to a mere 300.
The blip of music was only about 40 seconds long, but the students rerecorded for hours, trying to get the perfect clip.
“We didn’t even listen to the final result,” said Bullock. “It’s too nerve-wracking, and you’ll never be completely satisfied with how you sound.”
Cimonetti was the one who listened with great detail to each of their recordings and ultimately made the final decision on which one to send to the judges.
“I listened for little glitches, like a breath that lasted slightly longer than it should,” she said. “But in the end, it all worked out.”
The recordings were sent in November, but the students didn’t learn the results until a couple of months later.
“It was like waiting to hear from college applications, but worse,” said Heffernan, laughing.
Each said that when they did get their results back, the feeling was unreal.
“I saw the email on my phone and I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know if I trusted such good news,” said Brand, who read the email while walking down the street. The shock of it all caused him to abruptly stop walking, causing what he called a backup of foot traffic behind him.
“I was certain it was a trick,” he said.
But as the initial shock wore off, the students realized they had some serious work ahead of them.
They were each mailed a series of songs they needed to learn for the performances.
And they needed to learn them by heart.
Just because they had gotten into the choir didn’t mean they were out of the hot seat.
At the first rehearsal in Salt Lake, judges will walk through the rows of students, listening intently as they sing, eliminating anyone who doesn’t sound up to par.
“It may seem harsh, but it ensures quality performance,” Cimonetti said. “It holds everyone accountable.”
But each of the Mill River students have been dedicated to practicing in preparation for the event.
“We’ll absolutely be practicing on the plane ride, too,” said Bullock. “I actually feel bad for the people sitting next to us. We’ll be singing the whole time.”
While the three students said they feel a sense of pride, they all know they could not haven accomplished any of this without the help of Cimonetti.
But Cimonetti modestly shook off the compliment, saying the students were the ones bursting with talent.
“I really do think we will all be changed after this performance,” said Heffernan.
My boys amaze me. I am constantly in awe of how much they do and how very capable and talented they are at what they do. While we certainly are supportive, I honestly cannot take the credit for exactly how much and how well they manage to do things. For example, this past weekend, Tim was a participant in the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Conference. He, and four other Mill River students, who auditioned last year were selected to be part of the honors choirs. Tim had the privilege of performing in the Chinese Honors Choir. He learned and memorized about 8 songs in Chinese which he performed with 99 other students from all along the Eastern United States. He and his classmates, who were 4 of the 9 Vermont students that qualified for this distinct honor, performed in the Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Maryland with nationally recognized choral conductors.
We drove down to Baltimore this weekend meet Tim and see the concert. It was an amazing experience and still would have been an incredible event even if my own flesh and blood wasn’t one of the students performing. The entire experience was wonderful. My boys have the ability to constantly amaze me and make me incredibly proud. Enjoy the pictures here and share my pride and the pride of my fellow parents in how wonderful these students were and what an incredible experience they had.
The conductor of the Chinese Honors Choir – she was wonderful and explained the words to the songs that the students performed in Chinese.
The entire Chinese Honors Choir performing at Symphony Hall in Baltimore.
There’s my guy…..
Got to spend my Valentine’s Day (or at least a good portion of it) with Tim’s Chambers singers. The group of 18 splits into two octets and heads out into Rutland County to deliver singing Valentines to lucky recipients. The day is a fundraiser for the music program at the school. Parent drivers transport these kids to various homes, businesses, offices, the hospital and rehabilitation centers to deliver messages of love and good wishes to spouses, children, grandparents, friends, loved ones and even total strangers. It is a wonderful program and the kids, who dress in concert black with red accents, go about their appointed tasks with great professionalism and good cheer.
This year, they sang “We’re Happy Together” at least 25 times for each group and they did each one as if it were the first time, with great enthusiasm and beautiful smiles, making each recipient feel like they were the only one being sung to today. Their professionalism and musical talents are thanks in no small part to their choral instructor, who is amazing and makes the kids feel amazing themselves.
Here are some pictures from the day. If you missed it this year and you’re in Rutland County, I highly recommend you get your name on the list for next year! So very, very proud of Tim and his friends!
Last night I got to do something that I’ve missed out on for the past three years. Every year when the Celebration of the Arts comes around, Tim and I are on a plane, or on our way to a plane or getting off a plane for Odyssey. He misses his “final exam” concert and I miss the delight of watching him sing. This year, due to the lack of Odyssey in our lives, Tim got to perform and I got to watch. It was a wonderful night of vocal music following a wonderful night of instrumental music. Both nights included an entire library full of visual arts from the various art classes and I got to see some of the really great pictures that Tyler took during his digital photography class on display.
Here are some of the pictures from last night. It was a very emotional evening for them, since it will be the last time this group of students performs together, particularly for Tim’s chambers group which will be losing the majority of its members to graduation. Lots of singing, lots of wonderful music and lots of tears.
This is a picture of the entire group of vocal students who comprise the junior and senior chorus at the school. They performed a mass choral piece to open the concert which was fabulous.
Our choral instructor with the graduating seniors during the last performance of the evening – a song performed by the underclass vocal students as a send-off to their graduating members.
On Friday, Tim participated as part of his Chambers Music ensemble in the Mid Winter Madrigal Festival Concert in Burlington. He and his ensemble performed wonderfully. The church hosting the event that evening resonated with the sweet sounds of 250 high school chambers singers. Each group sang individual programs and then they all joined together for a 250-strong chorus to perform the final songs of the evening.
We spent the afternoon and evening up in Burlington in order to finish up some Christmas shopping and enjoy the concert. It was well worth the trip.
This Wednesday is the MRU winter vocal concert and Tim has a solo performance. We are very proud and looking forward to listening to him sing.
Here are some pictures from the Madrigal Festival.
As I was driving home tonight by myself in the car, singing along to the radio, I realize how much the words of a song can control your emotions. I write and while I love to write, I envy songwriters. They are the poets of the musical world. They are able to capture emotion, both good and bad, in a few lines of a song. They grab a snippet of time, freeze it and craft it in such a way that one cannot help but be moved by merely listening to the words.
I wish I possessed the talent to use my words to create such basic, core feelings. I am sure that you know what I mean. A song can conjure up a memory so specific or an emotion so strong that it moves you. A specific song can be a special bond between a couple (for example, a wedding song, a song played on a first date or during a special time in one’s relationship) or place you with a specific person or at a specific time (for example, the song your grandmother lulled you to sleep with in her arms). Music is soothing and emotional but the words –well the words can add another level, the words are the outpouring of the heart.
Yesterday, our youngest son spent his entire day at the Rutland Intermediate School with the rest of the students chosen for the Green Mountain District Music Festival. They practiced and practiced and practiced some more. Tim was chosen for middle school chorus. He spent the day with kids that he know but a lot that he never met. He sang and laughed and ate (they did manage to feed them, and quite well he said) and then they all dressed up in the black and white best and performed last night for a packed auditorium. There was the high school orchestra, the jazz ensemble, the string orchestra and the middle school chorus. These kids were awesome – all of them. The music and the performances were great.
Best of all, he had a fantastic time. He left there at 9 o’clock last night – after spending 12 hours there, happy as can be with a grin from ear to ear. He talked about it all the way home. It was a good day for him and a good performance for the audience.
Music. Such a big part of my life. I have to give Tom credit for this. Since I have known him, years and years ago, music was there and it still is there. Some of my best memories are associated with specific songs as I sure a lot of people might be able to say. Without Tom, I don’t know if music would have been such a big part of things. Sure, I put music on, now and again, but the music is always going on when he is here. Some of our whole family’s favorite evenings have been spent going through snippets of different songs and usually tormenting me with guessing what song it is (the men in my life beside scaring me with the pig, know that I am the WORST “name that song” person in the world) and getting a whole lot of amusement out of it. Last night, Timmy had some friends over for a movie and dinner and Tom and I hung around listening to a wide, weird variety of music while he cleaned up his library with the fire going in the woodstove, nice and toasty. It was fun.